Jennifer Egan loves music just as much as her protagonists in A Visit from the Goon Squad. Westword, Denver’s alt-weekly, asked Egan what her five favorite songs are. The playlist includes everyone from Iggy Pop to Cat Power. We think Bennie Salazar would approve.
You may have heard that Jess Row has a new book on shelves. The plot follows a man who undergoes a surgical procedure to change his race. In an interview at Guernica, the author talks to Grace Bello about writing and race, teaching in Hong Kong and what it means to grow up in Baltimore. You could also read the author’s Year in Reading entry.
A surreal theater production of Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, directed by Yukio Ninagawa, premiered at the Lincoln Center Festival in July. Ian Buruma writes for the NYRB about the marriage of tradition and modernity, and Western and Eastern references in the play. As he puts it, "even without traditional references, the production—perhaps more than Murakami’s novel—is still unmistakably Japanese: stylized, poetic, comical, violent, full of spectacular effects, and often exquisitely beautiful to look at. The setting jumps at lightning speed from a bus station, to a library, to a sleazy bar area. Various characters emerge and disappear, like memories or scenes from a dream, in an assortment of moving transparent boxes."
Poets and Writers sits down with Year in Reading alumnus Saeed Jones to talk writing, publishing, and BuzzFeed. "Creating change is about having a critical mass of several influences, but one is the right people, and creating a space where people feel that they can speak up and have these conversations and experiment."
Among the better tidbits from Gary Shteyngart’s diary of his book tour for Little Failure is the fact that he’s apparently had fellow Russian immigrants ask him to sign books for “a failed paralegal” and “a worse failure than even you.” If, after reading that, you'd like another dose of Shteyngart, you could do worse than his Year in Reading entry.
Christian Lorentzen wonders, in Book Forum, what the first OWS novels will be like. He anticipates them showing up next year, but I'm thinking we've already got at least two, though they were both published well before Occupy: Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story ought to fit the bill, and, of course, there's that famous Melville story about Wall Street, but I'd prefer not to talk about it when I could just direct you to Hannah Gersen's piece instead.
Believing that high quality TV dramas have supplanted silver screen blockbusters, and now rival novels as "the best way of widely communicating ideas and stories," Salman Rushdie is set to pen a science fiction series for Showtime. The show will be called "The Next People." Yet while he's cited "The Wire" as a source of inspiration, the novelist also backhandedly referred to it as "just a police series." (A stance he defended on Twitter.) Controversial? Perhaps. But still nothing compared to him calling "Game of Thrones" "very addictive garbage." Later on, when asked by Vulture to list some of his favorite TV shows, Rushdie curiously counted "Entourage" among them.